Rice Goddess, Shri Devi - Dewi Sri

Dewi Sri is the Indonesian Rice Goddess, equivalent of the Indian Goddess Lakshmi. Sri is the Goddess of the earth and the Mother of the Javanese people. In the Javanese harvest ceremonies She is worshiped as the Rice Mother and as the Rice Bride. She is widely venerated as the great benefactress of the people who protects them against hunger, even in the semi-Islamized regions. Sri brings the rain when the monsoon arrives and appears in dreams to give good advice.

She is unique in the Balinese pantheon for She is the only member of the principal deities who did not originate in Indian Hinduism. She is the consort of Wisnu, the God of Sustenance. Dewi Sri is considered to be the inspirer of Bali’s highly productive method of cooperative rice farming as well as Bali’s master landscaper. She protects and nurtures the rice padi and the farmers pray to her for bountiful harvest.

In the Javanese wayang cycle, Dewi Sri is reborn as the Goddess Sinta to marry her Wisnu in his incarnation as Rama. Reborn as Rukmini, she marries him in his new form as Kresna. Reborn as Subadra, she once again marries him as Arjuna, son of King Pandu.

If we are wondering about the beginning of padi and how the earth was first organized, the Sundanese myths have all the stories. One of the myths that is very well-known by the Sundanese is Nyi Pohaci Sanghiang Sri. This story about Dewi Sri is written in Wawacan Sulanjana.